Spasmodic torticollis: the problem of pathophysiology and assessment

J Neurol. 1987 Jun;234(5):322-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00314288.


In 17 patients with idiopathic spasmodic torticollis (ST) quantitative indices for both signs (extent and direction of the head deflexions) and complaints (of deflexion, shaking and pain) were collected. In the literature deflexion in the horizontal plane is most frequently considered, but analysis of the data shows that deflexion in the coronal and sagittal planes is also important. Furthermore, it is found that especially the deflexions in the coronal and sagittal plane covariate with the patients' complaints, but not with horizontal deflexion. On the basis of these and related data, it is suggested that we are dealing with at least two subtypes of ST. Finally, the patient's neuroticism and depression scale values are within the normal range and do not show significant correlations with ST duration. The present study provides no evidence that ST is a psychogenic disorder. ST should be regarded as a central nervous system disorder of unknown aetiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurotic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis
  • Spasm / diagnosis*
  • Spasm / physiopathology
  • Spasm / psychology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Torticollis / diagnosis*
  • Torticollis / physiopathology
  • Torticollis / psychology